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  1. I've had my TRL ring welder for about 2 weeks now and with a couple pieces of welded mail put together I decided to see just how good it is. I made two of the pieces I tested and the third piece is a sample of TRL's machine made mail which is 22ga 5/32". The weapon of choice is a hammer(some type of framing hammer I think) with a long spike coming out of one of the claws and a hammer/ax tool. Both tools weigh in at 600g or 21.2oz which is not as heavy as some medieval weapons but these were cheap. I used the spike since it delivers a lot of force into a small area and was a common armor piercing feature on many medieval weapons and the ax for testing cut/chop resistance. I assume if the armor can stop an ax blade it can stop a sword. I also did stab testing with a Gerber Guardian Backup knife and a Gerber Combat Folder. The mail tested was woven in Euro 4 in 1 out of stainless steel rings. The ring sizes used were 18ga 1/4", 16ga 3/8", and 22ga 5/32" (machine made). Each piece of mail was laid on a padding of 2 t-shirts each folded 3 times and that was placed on top of a piece of pine 28mm thick. Also I have several pieces of butted mail I tested. Butted mail does not make good armor. Most butted mail opened up on the first hit, sometimes so badly it fell apart. Stab Testing - Gerber Guardian Backup - I chose this knife because it's thin, narrow blade slips between links very well and it easily opens up butted rings however it was unable to break any of the welded rings. The knife did survive all of the testing and it still in good shape. It should be noted that Euro 4 in 1 with 16ga 3/8" is very open and this knife can go through the mail up to an inch before being stopped by the mail due its thin blade. 22ga 5/32" - The weave is "dense" enough the that only the very tip of the knives could get through. 18ga 1/4" - About a 1/4" of the blade can get through the rings. 16ga 3/8" - About an inch of blade can get through the rings before being stopped due its thin blade. Euro 4 in 1 with these rings is very open and not as well suited to stopping stabbing or piercing attacks as the other two pieces. Gerber Combat Folder - A much thicker blade than the Backup and it was not able to break any rings nor could it slip through the rings as far as the Backup could. Ax Testing - 22ga 5/32" - At least one ring was broken with each hit. The ax didn't penetrate but I think 22ga is too light for taking many direct hits. As it is my sample piece has several holes now and there aren't enough undamaged areas to keep testing. 18ga 1/4" - Survived many hits without any broken rings although a few rings were slightly bent. 16ga 3/8" - Also survived testing without any rings broken. Spike Testing - This is where the real armor is separated from fancy costume pieces. This spike absolutely devastated much of the mail I tested. Butted mail was almost shattered. So many butted rings came open that the pieces would fall apart when picked up. 22ga 5/32" - I only hit it once. It damaged the rings so badly some weren't just broken open but broken into multiple pieces. 6 rings were broken on that one hit. 18ga 1/4" - This resisted the spike best of all the welded mail. 8 hits resulted in 4 broken rings.The spike was too large to slide into the rings unless the rings broke. In one case a ring penetrated through 6 layers of the padding without breaking. I think that ring had been hit directly by the spike. 16ga 3/8" - No rings were broken but some were bent in oval shapes. This weave is so open that the spike easily slipped into the rings and penetrated the padding and left a 1/4" deep hole in the wood beneath. Conclusion - Welded rings are undoubtedly good armor but no matter the kind of armor, it can only take so much abuse. Some weapons, like the spike, are exceptionally good at breaking armor and I think to make mail that can stop those kinds of weapons may leave the wearer too encumbered to fight effectively (14ga 3/8" looks like a good candidate but for a haubergeon to fit me, it would weigh 28 lb). Even though the spike didn't break any rings, the 16ga 3/8" piece is so open that it didn't actually provide any real protection. And finally some pictures below of the weapons and the 18ga 1/4" piece and its broken rings.
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